Paul T. Valachovic, a lifelong fan of Johnstown High School sports so devoted he often wore the school colors of purple and gold and was known as “Johnstown’s greatest fan,” has died.
Valachovic passed away at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville on Sunday, a week short of his 92nd birthday. His funeral was Friday morning in the city.
The city native graduated from Johnstown High School in 1939 and spent a career working for the phone company, retiring in 1987.
He was also a World War II combat veteran. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and flew 32 missions over France and Germany as a bombardier navigator in a B-24H.
During his life, Valachovic was an Eagle Scout, a member of St. Anthony’s Church, an active blood donor and an ambulance volunteer. He helped organize and participated in the Johnstown Memorial Day Parade.
His passion, however, was the Greater Johnstown School District, especially its sports teams.
He served on the Board of Education for 10 years and was a dedicated supporter and attendee at school functions.
The 1988 Johnstown High School yearbook was dedicated to him.
According to the inscription in the yearbook, “He can be found at virtually every Johnstown High School activity, contest and event; has missed only one Johnstown-Gloversville game in the last 50 years; puts his heart, his time, and his effort into both the present and the future of Johnstown’s students; some claim he now even bleeds purple and gold.”
In 1989, he was the recipient of the Founder’s Day Award from the Jansen Avenue School PTA; in 1997, he received the Central Council City-Wide Founder’s Day Award as “Johnstown’s #1 Fan.” In 2007, he was inducted into the Johnstown High School Hall of Fame.
Valachovic will also be remembered for painting parking lot bumpers purple and gold, planting purple and gold flower beds, and giving cold cider for 40 years to numerous athletes, according to his obituary.
Survivors include his sons, Thomas Valachovic of Johnstown and Edward Valachovic of Los Angeles; a daughter, Kathryn Van Arnam of Johnstown; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
The family requested that memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, be made to the William A. Wright Scholarship Fund, c/o the Johnstown Retired Teachers Association, 137 Webb Road, Johnstown, NY 12095. “Prof Wright” was Valachovic’s teacher and principal at Johnstown High School, according to the obituary.